Washington, Feb 5 (IANS/EFE) The US unemployment rate dropped to nine percent last month, the Labour Department said in a report that surprised most analysts expecting joblessness to remain at or above December’s level of 9.4 percent.
The January unemployment rate was the lowest since April 2009 and coincides with other indicators that the economic recovery is gaining a sounder footing, the report stated Friday.
Over eight million jobs disappeared during the recession that began in December 2007 and officially ended in June 2009, the deepest and longest economic downturn since the Depression.
Despite the unexpected drop in the unemployment rate, a separate Labour Department survey showed only 36,000 net new jobs were created in January, though that report did not include people who were self-employed.
US employers announced the elimination of 38,519 positions last month, placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said Wednesday.
The total was sharply down from the 71,428 layoffs announced in January 2010, while most of last month’s job cuts were in the public and non-profit sectors.
Last month saw the fewest layoffs for January since figures began to be kept in 1993, Challenger said.